Dr. Assaf Chen

Dr. Assaf Chen
Principal Research Associate
Research Group Leader
Research Interests:
  • Precision irrigation – Identifying variability in plants’ water needs  and optimizing irrigation water use in field crops and orchards using remote sensing
  • Early detection and prevention of soil diseases, reducing pesticide use and raising field crops yield
  • Precision spraying – applying spray to each tree in the orchard according to its canopy
  • Use of remote sensing tools to assess the number of wintering Gray Cranes and their impact on agriculture in the Hula Valley, Israel
  • Improving pests control strategies (emphasis on the carob moth) by agrotechnic and friendly methods in almond orchards using deep learning
  • Using deep computational learning to identify plant stress (water, diseases) from remotely sensed images at various resolutions.
  • Examining fresh water bodies' quality parameters via remote sensing

Remote sensing is defined as any information that can be collected on an object without physically touching it. Specifically, at the Agro-GeoInformatics lab, we use sensors that are sensitive to the sun's electromagnetic radiation spectrum, which is returned from objects (vegetation, water, soil, etc.) and from analyzing the objects’ spectral signature reflectance, we learn about plant health, soil and water status. The projects at the Agro-GeoInformatics lab focus on tracking changes in plant signals as a result of various stresses (irrigation, fertilization, pests or disease), in the visible, near and thermal infrared range of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, using airborne sensors and satellites. We integrate image analysis and image processing, artificial intelligence, geo-spatial modelling, and GIS technology in order to solve interesting and difficult questions!



1999-2003 - B.Sc. in Computer Science, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

2009-2011 - M.Sc. in Desert Studies Specializing in Environmental Studies, Ben Gurion University Of the Negev. Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, the Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies. Supervised by Prof. Noam Weisbrod. Thesis project: “Environmental Flows Assessment and Future Forecasting for the Lower Jordan River”.

2012-2017 - PhD in Desert Studies Specializing in Remote Sensing. Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, The Bluestein Institutes for Desert Research. Supervised by Prof. Golan Bel. Research title: “Dynamics of agricultural land-use land-cover changes in semi-arid to arid environments”.

Academic and research positions:

2019 – Leading the Agro-GeoInformatics lab in MIGAL.

2018 - Visiting lecturer in Tel-Hai College, faculty of science and technology, department of biotechnology and department of environmental studies.

2017-2018 – Research associate, Crop Ecology Lab, MIGAL.

Honors and awards:

2013 – Katzir scholarship fund.

2013 - 2015 – Twice winner of the Ramat Negev regional council scholarship for agriculture advancement.

Other Activities and Service:

2004-2006, Amdocs, Israel, Software Engineer

2007-2008, BMC corporation, Software engineer.

2007-2009, Urban composting pilot for Kiryat Shmona, Urban Composting Pilot Manager. As party of my voluntary activity at the Association for the Preservation of Nature and Landscape Beauties NGO, I envisioned the project, raised the funds and managed the pilot for urban composting in Kiryat Shemona.

2009-2011, Teaching assistant, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.

2010-2012, Helped organize the 3rd and 4th International conference on Desertification, November 2010 and 2012, Ben Gurion University, Sde Boker campus, Israel.

2010-2015, UNCCD – UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Reporting officer for the state of Israel, for 3 bi-annual reports. Employed by the Jacob Bluestein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

2012-2015, SIDEER conference www.bgu.ac.il/sideergrads, part of the organizing committee of the international annual Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research student run symposium.

2016, Co-organized BIWARD, the first Brazilian Israeli conference on agriculture and biotechnology. Natal, Brazil, November 2016.

2016-2017, Research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Shai Arnon, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.

2017-now, Migal - Galilee Research Institute, Researcher. Heading multi-disciplinary research in precision agriculture using remote sensing technology.

Awards and Honors
2013 – Katzir scholarship fund.
2013 - 2015 – Twice winner of the Ramat Negev regional council scholarship for agriculture advancement.

Scientific Publications

Trichoderma longibrachiatum and Trichoderma asperellum Confer Growth Promotion and Protection against Late Wilt Disease in the Field

Degani O, Rabinovitz O, Becher P, Gordani A, Chen A.
Journal of Fungi. 2021; 7(6):444.

Molecular tracking and remote sensing to evaluate new chemical treatments against the maize late wilt disease causal agent, Magnaporthiopsis maydis

Degani Ofir, Dor Shlomit, Chen Assaf, Orlov-Levin Valerie, Stolov-Yosef Avital, Regev Danielle and Rabinovitz Onn
Journal of Fungi (2020), 6, 54.